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Third Day at the old/new job

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by tripwire45, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

    Since I worked at this place as a contractor from April to September of this year, I thought I should post a link to my original "day 3" thread:


    I pulled into the parking lot just before 9 last Friday. I was actually feeling a little nervous, but I don't know why. I remember looking out towards the greenbelt and getting a slight shock. All of the leaves were off the trees. That shouldn't surprise me since it's December, but the last time I looked at that view was over 2 months ago.

    I walked in the main lobby and Heather, sitting at reception, lit up. She gave me my parking pass and badge, so I made myself at home (after putting the pass in my car) and went up to the third floor. The HR person wasn't around right then, so I settled in at my old/new desk. A little sticky note was there with my login info (which I have since changed) so I logged into my trusty Ubuntu machine. I found all the notes I'd left for the person I thought would replace me and was glad I wrote them. After 2 months, my memory was rusty and the notes helped me remember where everything I needed could be found.

    I spent about 30 minutes or so in the HR office going over all the paperwork and asking questions. I always feel really stupid trying to figure out the various forms and was glad she'd mailed them to me so I could go over them with the missus.

    Everybody was happy to see me. A couple of the developers tried to do some work on my documents, but when they saw how much work was involved, they gave up. Not because they aren't capable, but after all, they have their own, full-time jobs to do...so how can they be expected to do mine as well?

    I guess the higher ups originally thought they could hire a temp "as needed" to update the documents. I'm glad the input from the developers helped them realize that documentation is a full-time and ongoing need.

    My direct report smiled, shook my hand, and said he had a lot of work for me to do. In my absence, the company became even more successful then it was when I was working there. More products are coming down the pipeline and virtually nothing is documented. I was immediately tasked to write a brand new document and was notified that I would need to update all of my pre-existing docs for the next version of their main software product. A new product is about to be launched and all of the docs will need to be created for that as well.

    I had to get used to LaTeX, Kile, and GIMP, but it's like riding a bicycle. I met with one of the developers on Friday afternoon to go over the details of one of the new docs I'll be writing. His wife was due to give birth almost a week prior and she was still waiting as of Friday (she gave birth Sunday morning) so my access to him will be limited in the near future.

    I spent most of Monday writing the skeleton of the new doc and plugging in what content I've been provided with. The rest of the time, including today, I've been going over the user guide, comparing it to the current state of the product, and making some of the changes. I haven't even really gotten started on all of the new features that are coming out with the next release, but you know developers...they tossed in just enough "minor" tweaks that require me to modify my text and screen captures. It's actually good exercise in getting familiar with my tools, again.

    I walked to the library on Friday over lunch (a five minute walk) and could feel myself smiling. I really like this part of town. Being by the greenbelt and the river is very relaxing mentally and emotionally, and I also like libraries. Today, I walked over to the university. The course I take makes the walk almost exactly 60 minutes long. It was nice to go over familiar ground again.

    Everything seems familiar at work, but just a hair off. Some people have moved desks (I have a "neighbor" now), a few people don't work there anymore, and a lot of new people are showing up. Maybe it's just me, but I feel like I'm being treated differently. Maybe it's that I'm permanent or maybe it's the perception that what I do really is needed, or maybe it's just my own state of mind.

    I keep having to remind myself that nothing human made lasts forever. This isn't the last job I'll have, which means it's not the last job search I'll go through and not the last time I'll feel anxiety over being out of work. I don't like to think of those things, but ignoring them is foolish.

    For now, I'm just going to try and get caught up and settle into the office. I've already started to "nest" a bit, moving stuff around to suit me better and putting up a few little personal items. When I'm contracting, I don't like to bring in a lot of stuff, because you'll never know when you have to move it out again if the budget changes and you're shown the door.

    One thing that I was thinking about today as I was working was that, compared to my job at HP, I feel like I can be a lot more creative here. Sure, my work is reviewed and changes are requested, but more or less, I'm the person who sets the standards for my writing style, the graphics I create, and I manage my own schedule within the parameters set by my boss. I guess that's one of the advantages of working in a smaller shop.
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  2. kevicho

    kevicho Gigabyte Poster

    Sounds like you're in your element.

    Congrats on landing a great job, hope it lasts as long as you want it to last.
    Certifications: A+, Net+, MCSA Server 2003, 2008, Windows XP & 7 , ITIL V3 Foundation
    WIP: CCNA Renewal
  3. piccadilly

    piccadilly Byte Poster

    A nice read. How many months were you off work?
  4. Phil
    Honorary Member

    Phil Gigabyte Poster

    :cheers Trip, long time no speak. Grats on the new job.
    Certifications: MCSE:M & S MCSA:M CCNA CNA
    WIP: 2003 Upgrade, CCNA Upgrade
  5. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

    Wow! Phil! Long time no speak, mate. Glad to see you again. Don't disappear. Stick around. :biggrin

    Picc...I actually wasn't off work (this time). I took the original contact with my current company last April. In September, I started getting notices from a ton of contract agencies that a long-term contract job was available at HP. I interviewed and they made me an offer. I went to the folks I was (and am now) working for and asked if they could counter. They conferred and told me they could make no promises of anything past the middle of November. I weighed my options and went with the HP offer.

    I gave my two-weeks notice, left on a Friday and went to work onsite at HP on a Monday. No gap at all. Same thing (more or less) happened in reverse. My current company called out of a clear blue sky (after trying to get someone to maintain the docs part-time/remotely and not finding anyone) and said they were ready to hire a FT/Perm technical writer. I applied and they made the offer. Gave two-weeks notice at HP...had my last day on a Thursday and went to work for the current company the following day.

    I was most fortunate in this case. In the past, there indeed have been gaps between contracts, sometimes for months at a time. Even in the best of economies, it can be very disheartening. I'm thankful that this has happened the way it has in the current situation. :)
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  6. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

    Yesterday and today, I truly realized I had arrived. I was invited to meetings. I know that most of you probably hate meetings. I consider them a "necessary evil" at best. However, when I was here before as a temp, I couldn't get invited to a meeting for love or money and it made it more difficult to do my job. Information that was shared with and between the developers at those meetings, I was completely locked out of, and had to find out, either after the fact, or be accident.

    Yesterday, I was invited to a "state of the business" meeting and got a "big picture" view of the business, and today, I was invited to the development team meeting. Both meetings were very educational and took me out of the realm of my little world and into the world of how the products are actually being used and by who.

    I also am getting a better picture of what's on the horizon and will be working with programmers on what's currently in development. After spending so much time as a temp, I've gotten a little "gun shy" about settling in to a place and getting comfortable. I'm not there yet, but I'm a little closer.

    Oh, and I still think that having more than one meeting a week or a meeting that lasts over an hour (barring an emergency) is "evil". :wink:
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  7. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    I actually enjoy them, provided there's a real reason for meeting. Our senior development team meets once a week to discuss projects, and then the senior developers meet with the team members as needed throughout the week. As long as information is getting where it needs to go in a timely fashion, meetings can be a good thing.
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  8. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

    Sounds like you've found something you really enjoy. Congatulations I hope it goes well for you.:)
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  9. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

    I agree with you Michael that, meetings for a purpose and that impart information are a good thing. I've worked at places though, that everything was meeting driven. There were so many meetings that it significantly cut into the amount of time that people had to do their work. Both HP and Sybase are extremely meeting oriented.

    Part of that of course, if that half (or more) of the people at the meetings live in different parts of the world, so virtual meeting spaces are the norm. If you interface with multiple teams in order to get your work done, you need to communicate with them. Unfortunately, "the meeting" can take on a life of its own in such places.

    It's one of the reasons I like collaboration applications such as SharePoint. You can create a single interface for sharing information and collaborating on projects and you don't have to have a meeting every five seconds. The one thing that SharePoint does very badly is discussion groups. If they had something like vBulletin, it would just shine.

    I was happy because both the "state of the business" and the team meetings were about an hour or so long. The state of the business meeting only happens once a month, which is just fine by me. I can understand the necessity of weekly team meetings (though, for the next two weeks, there won't be enough people here to have a meeting), as long as there's a defined agenda and people stick to it.

    Another milestone is that I asked for the Fridays after the 25th and the 1st off. There will be few to no people on my floor present and thus, no sources of information to access. I'm not behind on my work, so coming in on those days would be a waste of gas. Assuming the weather then will be as dismal as it has been this week, it'll also serve to keep me off the snowy, icy roads. :wink:
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  10. nugget
    Honorary Member

    nugget Junior toady

    Good to see that you are settling in okay Trip.

    You realise of course that 95% of the people that come out of those meetings usually can say to their subordinates "that was what was decided, get it done".
    Certifications: A+ | Network+ | Security+ | MCP (270,271,272,290,620) | MCDST | MCTS:Vista
    WIP: MCSA, 70-622,680,685

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